by William Butler
Joe Ande, senior church leader, has long dreamed of providing additional Biblical training, fostering unity, and providing encouragement for all the pastors, elders, and other church leaders of his area. Now it was happening—the first Long Island Leadership Conference. He asked me to lead it.
For seven full days under a temporary shelter of coconut fronds erected to block the driving tropical sun, thirty-one leaders from six congregations heard and discussed Biblical principles of leadership and stewardship. Quite often these confronted their traditional cultural and current church practices. The conflict in their minds was evident on their faces as they hung in indecision between the two.
While the surf pounded relentlessly not 75 feet away, they also listened to the teachings of Christ in the context of an overview of his life. They were regaled with accounts from God’s dramatic rescue of Israel from Egypt and saw the parallels to their rescue from sin.
In the evenings, we watched the Jesus film and The Passion of Christ. We also viewed several PNG-made fims concerning HIV/AIDS, a problem of growing concern for the entire PNG population, especially the church.
All too soon, it was over. As these church leaders return home, they carry with them a deeper understanding of God’s truth and a greater awareness of both the challenge and blessing of being a leader. They also carry quite a few things to think about and discuss among themselves as they apply these truths in their ministry situations.
William and Robin Butler have been with Pioneer Bible Translators in PNG since May of 1979. William is the Translator for the Waran language. He has also taught a wide variety of courses over the years. He has served in many leadership roles in the PNG Branch of Pioneer Bible Translators.